If you needed any reminding why Monsanto has repeatedly been voted the “World’s most evil corporation”, here it is. Monsanto lied and there is now proof to show the extent of its collusion and cover ups to buy or influence its way out of controversy. Last week, Baum Hedland Law released documents that have come to light as part of an ongoing legal battle against Monsanto.

These documents are more than eyebrow raising, they’re hard proof that show just how far Monsanto has gone to ensure the continued use of Roundup — the most common weedkiller in the world — despite significant safety concerns and the WHO’s classification as a ‘probable carcinogen’.

Monsanto, with a straight face, on the one hand, declares its values as “Integrity, Dialogue, Transparency, Sharing, Benefits and Respect” while, on the other, is complicit in misrepresenting facts, making the science say what they want it to say, ignoring all criticism and acting in secret with their cronies in powerful places. Finally, a powerful coalition of environmental and plaintiff lawyers in the US has come together against Monsanto.

The big reveal

Amongst the released documents are damning emails that show how Monsanto executives ghostwrote articles and research papers, as well as revealing the company’s close relationship with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials. In one email chain, Bill Heydens, Lead Monsanto Product Safety Regulator, said, “…I don’t think EPA has this documented anywhere it can be found publicly. As a matter of fact, just today EPA called us up and asked us if we could send them a copy of the PWG!!! [Pathology Working Group].

In another email string from 2003, a Monsanto toxicologist said, “You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen…we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement. The same email also states, “We cannot support the statement about 'no adverse effects whatsoever on flora, fauna or on the human body'”.

You may remember our coverage of the 2012 study by Gilles-Eric Séralini’s team on the long-term risks of eating genetically modified (GM) crops? Unsurprisingly, despite being a well-conducted study, it was retracted the following year. What was unknown at the time, yet has now been revealed by these court documents, is Monsanto’s part in that retraction. A. Wallace Hayes, the editor-in-chief of Food and Chemical Toxicology at the time had a contractual relationship with Monsanto. Another email from Bill Heydens clearly states, “…the editor is telling us it is the 11th hour and he has nothing to work with. He directly told us (Monsanto) to give him something to work with or else his hands are tied and we will deal with the consequences”.

Crony Capitalism at its worst

Over the years, Monsanto has maintained its position of power by keeping friends in high places, and lobbying Governments and regulators to suit its own ends. Without this, Monsanto’s business model would have come to a grinding halt. At present, of course, its market share is staggering, but this could change now as people become increasingly aware of the health risks posed by Monsanto’s Roundup Ready family of products — and GM crops.

Good science stands the test of time

Despite the attacks on his original paper, Prof Séralini continues his research into the toxic effects of Roundup adding to the ever-growing body of literature supporting the negative effects of the chemical. More recently Dr Christopher Portier questioned the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Chemical Agency’s (ECHA) evaluation of the safety of glyphosate. In their response, the agencies, dismissed Dr Portier’s concerns over Monsanto’s ghostwriting, saying that all studies have “been adequately considered” and that they “see no need for our evaluations to be revisited”. These new documents now reveal that this is patently not so.

The big question now though is what effect, if any, will these documents have on both the trial outcome and the EU’s current classification of glyphosate and will Monsanto be able to buy its way out as it has done in the past? Only time — and jury decisions — will tell!

What can you do?

  • Inform yourself by reading our Say No to GM campaign to find out why we are so concerned about GM technology and the toxic chemicals such as Roundup that are associated with it
  • Register for the free GMOs Revealed docu-series running 22nd – 31st August 2017 – link to be released on 15th August 2017